Thursday, November 4

9 – 10 am

Transforming Transportation Geotechnics with Geosynthetics
Silas C. Nichols, PE, Principal Geotechnical Engineer,  FHWA
Whether for improvement of soils, use in earth retention or in pavement applications, geosynthetics have been one of the most important game changers in the design and construction of transportation geotechnics. Over the last few decades, the Federal Highway Administration has funded research, specification and testing development, and design guidance for geosynthetics that have been instrumental in saving time and money and improving constructability, reliability, and performance of our infrastructure. This session will provide a look at the history of geosynthetics at FHWA, including significant research and applications, and what our future looks like. Attendees will be able to 1) identify significant advances in transportation geotechnics due to geosynthetics and 2) understand future research and program needs.

10 – 11 am Open Networking
11am – 12:30 pm


Geosynthetic-reinforced column-supported embankments: Bridging theory and practice
Jie Han, PhD, The University of Kansas
Geosynthetics have been successfully used to improve the performance of column-supported embankments over soft soils. Geosynthetic-reinforced column-supported embankments involve complex load transfer mechanisms, including soil arching, tensioned membrane, stress concentration, lateral restraint, and anchorage. Different theoretical models are available to describe soil arching but often result in different predicted stresses.  Due to three-dimensional layout of columns, tension distribution in geosynthetic reinforcement is spatial.  Column-soil stiffness difference induces soil arching and contributes to stress concentration and down-drag forces on columns. Side slopes of embankments promote lateral spreading and global instability that can be stabilized by lateral restraint and anchorage of geosynthetics. Localized surface loading further affects load transfer among soils, columns, and geosynthetics. This lecture will illustrate how theoretical solutions can be used to explain existing phenomena and solve practical problems in geosynthetic-reinforced column-supported embankments including required tensile strength of geosynthetic reinforcement, settlement, and global stability.    

12:30 – 1:30 pm Open Networking
1:30 – 2:30 pm

Jeffrey Gagnon,Manager, Airport Pavement R&D Section, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Description coming soon.

2:30 – 4 pm Panel Discussion | Innovative Technology Spotlight
4 – 5 pm Networking Reception

Friday, November 5

9 – 10 am

Geosynthetics in Military and Environmental Infrastructure Applications
Jeb Tingle, Senior Scientific Technical Manager (SSTM), USACE

What role will geosynthetics play in the future of military and environmental infrastructure? This session will discuss the current state-of-the-practice for using geosynthetics in military and environmental applications and look into the future to explore how these innovative and evolving material solutions will play an increasing role in infrastructure and environmental construction projects.  Attendees will understand:

1. How geosynthetics are used by the military today,

2. Practical and programmatic obstacles limiting their routine use, and


3. Opportunities to expand the use of geosynthetics for improved infrastructure and environmental systems.


10 – 11 am Open Networking
11 am – noon

Moderator: Fred Chuck, GMA
Panel Members: Silas Nichols, FHWA; Jeb Tingle, USACE; Jeff Gagnon, FAA, Bryan Gee, Tensar and Steve Thaxton, Owens Corning


6 PDHs available.
*schedule subject to change.